Benton Co. History: The Start of the Sauk Rapids Fire Department
SAUK RAPIDS (WJON News) -- The Sauk Rapids Fire Department was officially formed back in 1909, after a couple of big disasters struck the town.
Benton County Historical Society Executive Director Mary Ostby says when the tornado destroyed the community in 1886 there was no formal fire department, just a bucket brigade.
Then, in 1907 a fire downtown burned down three businesses and threatened 12 others.
There were three large buildings that started on fire which put about 15 total at risk. So you see after 1907 that they decide to formalize a fire department, and that's where the hose cart comes in.
The Benton County Historical Society has in its collection that very first hose cart which has five-foot high wheels.
By 1909 the Sauk Rapids fire department was up and running.
Another fire downtown in 1915 destroyed the former Benton County Courthouse building and that is when the city decided they needed a motorized fire truck.
The first motorized fire truck that they bought was in 1920. Based on the description in the newspaper, they were quite proud of it.
That truck cost the city $4,500 in 1920 and was used until 1952.
Over the years the nonprofit Engine Company #2 bought the original fire truck back, restored it, and now drives it through parades.
Once a month Ostby is on the News @ Noon Show on WJON and talks about the forgotten history in Benton County.
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